The poetry in Malayalam is diverse and highly dynamic in nature. The modernism in poetry starting from 1950s with Ayyappa panikkar Ayyappath N N Kakkad and others further became focused and streamlined by Attoor Ravi Varma, K G Sankara Pillai and K Satchidanandan, the trio of 70’s. Attoor’s Samkramanam (transformation) Ayyappanikar’s Kurukshetram and KGS’s Bengal Kadammanitta’s Kurathi , among others made mile stone impacts in channelizing breathtaking paths of Malayalam poetry. Later, the sensibilities changed, outlook and apprehensions varied, but these tall figures remain tall in the main stream. The first Jnanapeeth award winner G Sankarakurup could not make much influence on the next generation compared to his contemporaries Vyloppilli Edasseri or Kunjiraman Nair.The meter and shloka era faded away slowly. Some new rhythms emerged. The folklore and native impulses got recognized and diffused in poetry. The sage like poets, Kunjunni Mashu, the down to earth poets like A Ayyappan, became effulgent. A Ayyappan wrote from his heart using his blood, sleeping on foot path keeping profound purity in poetry without any technical jargons. On the conventional front, with remnants of modernism, by 80’s 90’s, Balachandran Chullikkad established a centre line position in Malayalam poetry, with intense feelings focused in remodelled word meanings integrated with marvellous rhythm.
Further 80’s and 90’s saw amazingly radiant poetry from T P Rajeevan who later also established as a famous novelist. P P Ramachandran, K R Tony, P Raman and a series of fine poets emerged in the mean time. Along with them Rafiq Ahmad, Anwar, Veeran Kutty and many in the same period, created their own identity.
The senior women poets in Malayalam Like Sugathakumari, Kamala Das, Vijayalaxmi Savitri Rajeevan and Anita Thampi and many made special impacts in Malayalam poetry with their unique writings.
The lyrical poems of O N V Kurup, Jnanapeeth Award winner, are embedded in the minds of every Malayalee.
There are also off beat poets-like Emigrant Pravasi poets who stay away from this land of ‘keera’ or coconut - KERALAM- like Cheriyan K Cheriyan , Jayan KC from New York and many poets from Gulf countries & different cities of India, who generally do not come in mainstream discussions. In nutshell one can find diverse categories of poetry in Malayalam with their own ethnicity and identity. There are post modern, progressive, dalit, women, environmental, experimental, simple, shloka, haiku, hasya, blog, bhakti, audio, avant-garde and all…
Thus Malayalam poetry has a multi dimensional scenario ever changing and highly spectacular both in reading and listening.
With the above as an abstract, during the last 15 years poetic sensibilities in Malayalam transformed enormously. The subtle sensibilities introduced by Kalppatta Narayanan and K Jayaseelan are more visible. Satchidanandan has become world poet. Attoor is poet’s poet. ONV Madhusoodanan Nair, Balachandran Chullikkad became part of daily chanting. Akkitham writes in unchanged ancient style. PP Ramachandran’s complete works have been already released.
There are many poets - a rough estimate states more than 10,000 serious poet’s existential dilemma in Malayalam. I have neither read nor understood even half percent, so my apologies to readers for my progressively opaque vision. But one thing is crystal clear. River descends in a succession of amazing cataracts, not still but flows in all directions spreading the vibes of God’s own country.Translated by dancing drops